Thursday, August 21, 2014

Family Fun

Last week was a "family week" for me. I took Wednesday off, completely; and I took half days on Thursday and Friday. The objective was to take the boys to Idlewild on Wednesday; and, on Thursday and Friday, take The Boy and Little Bear to Sandcastle one day and do something fun with The Baby on the other day, whichever wound up working better with The Wife's work and meeting schedule.
























Idlewild is a little amusement park and water park located about sixty-seventy-five minutes east of Pittsburgh. It's designed for the littler kids: the biggest rides require a height of 48 inches, and a kid who is at least 36 inches can go on almost everything with a parent with them. Last week was the last week that it was open during the weekdays - college started back up this week, and the college kids that work there disappear, leaving the parks understaffed. The Baby spent the day with Grandma, which we later regretted - we all wish that The Baby had come with us, even though he hates rides at this point of his life. We miss him, and our family is incomplete when he's not with us, even if it would have made some of the rides challenging.





















At the entranceway, there is a Storybook Village, where kids can walk through little exhibits describing the nursery rhymes. Mother Goose has a house at the beginning, and you walk through Gepetto's shop, and the Three Little Pigs' brick house. There are some pens with friendly goats and sheep and chickens and such as well. It's a nice little walk, about fifteen minutes' worth. Considering that it poured down rain all the way there, and was still drizzling, this was a good starting point. It stopped raining about 2/3 of the way through Storybook Village, and it was sunny by the time we got back to the car, dropped off raincoats, and went into the park.





















The park is marvelous and perfect for my boys at this age. The lines, considering the rainy morning, were quite manageable, and we didn't really have to wait for longer than fifteen minutes for anything. All four of us went on the "Rollo Coaster," an up & down wooden roller coaster. The Boy & The Wife went on the Wild Mouse roller coaster - Little Bear, who is coming in at 47 inches, was not tall enough to go on the ride. The Boy, on the other hand, is 48 and a half inches, so he was able to go on everything in the park. He had an awesome time.















Across the bridge, we went into the small person's area, and Little Bear got to go on everything, including small bumper cars. They both did a good job driving the bumper cars - they're the ones that have a "go" pedal, and you have to turn the wheel all the way around to go backwards to get out of a jam. The Boy was still not quite old enough to think that all the little rides were for babies, but I think he's going to outgrow them next year.















The water park was a little problematical, because it was juuuuuuust a bit too cold. The boys played in Captain Kidd's Kingdom for a little while - it's got small but cool water slides and some water trays in which to play. Little Bear gave up quickly, because he's got exactly 0% body fat and doesn't handle the cold well at all. I went on a few of the big water slides: a racer, with mats; a body slide; and a tube slide, because the total wait for all three rides was about 10 seconds. The Boy joined me after a few minutes, because he was tall enough to go on them. He didn't go on the tube slide, because it was enclosed and he hates those. We went on the "racer" ride about three times.















Both boys passed out in the car on the way home (we left at 7) and slept through the night.

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Thursday, I took The Boy and Little Bear to Sandcastle in the afternoon. It was fun: we did the wave pool, we went to Wet Willie's, and we had cheese fries. It was too cold to stay for too long, though.


















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Friday, I had a wonderfully simple day with The Baby. We went to the comic book store together, then to Starbucks to enjoy a coffee (me) and some apple juice (him). We had cake pops, because Friday! The Baby struck up a conversation with two older ladies who were sitting across the communal table with us. He was very friendly and polite, and they were charmed by him.












After that, we discussed what we would like to do, ultimately settling on going to the JCC to play in the playroom. His walking is good, but not great, so I didn't want him to feel uncomfortable running around the playground. We played in the playroom for an hour and a half (he was perfect on the potty, I might add), and then we went home. It was fun and a nice bonding moment. We mostly played with the letter tiles, because..... letters! He didn't want to build with the big Legos at the playroom. The train table was out for repairs, which was a bummer.

Lately, he's been asking for me at bedtime. We're getting adjusted to a "normal" bedtime routine: bath, pajamas & teeth, snuggle and read stories. He likes "Don't Wake Up The Bear" (Marjorie Murray) and "Bugs Bugs Bugs" (Bob Barner) from my Kindle program, and from iBooks, "Hello Ninja" (N.D. Wilson, Forrest Dickison), "Duck and Goose Feelings" (Tad Hills), and a Scholastic adaptation of "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed." They're all short and cute, and he "reads" them with me. After that and some hugs and conversation ("What was the best thing that happened to you today?"), I turn on the "Deep Sleep Lullabies" by Austin & Austin and leave the room. This has only developed since we got back from France - the ability to leave him in his room to sleep.

Granted, we have to go in a couple/few times before we go to bed, but it's MUCH MUCH MUCH better than having to sit with him for an hour or two.

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Saturday, I took the three boys to the zoo. Well, we went to Giant Eagle (to get bread for sandwiches), the bank (because I'm poor), and the farmer's market before the zoo. We walked around the whole place kind of quickly (The Baby was in a stroller in deference to his leg) and spent a decent amount of time at kid's kingdom so they could run and play. We were at the zoo for around three hours, which was nice.

A duck and a duckling passed The Baby's stroller, about a foot away from it. He was amused.









Elephants are always a favorite.






The Baby wasn't afraid of the sheep and goats, even though he remembers getting bitten by a goat last fall.






It was a good week for me. I loved spending time with the kids - it's good to have this time!


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